Archive inspires Heriot-Watt designers



Fabric sample designed by Mark Parker

The history of the knitwear industry in Hawick is featured at an exhibition supported by design staff at the University’s School of Textiles and Design.

Using knitwear archives held at the Heritage Hub and Hawick Museum as inspiration, the staff created work for Swatches, sketches and Samples which is now being exhibited at Borders Textile Towerhouse in Hawick.

The extensive archives include material relating to the working methods, products and general history of the knitwear industry in Hawick. They feature material connected with pioneering early hosiery brands such as Pesco, Braemar, Ellaness and Hendawick, which combined technical innovations, expertise with fashionable design and comprehensive marketing strategies. The dominance of Hawick in the manufacture of luxury knitwear in the 20th century can be traced to these origins.

The Heriot-Watt designers are Angela Cassidy, Dr Fiona Jardine, Sara Keith, Fiona Pankhurst, Mark Parker, Emily Quinn and Grace Smith. Their work is broadly inspired by shade cards, advertisements, garments and pattern books and is concerned with three main themes – colour, illustration and the details of systematic knit manufacture.

Mark Parker, Programme Director for the University’s Design for Textiles degree, said, “Working directly from the wonderful knit archive held in Hawick the project has allowed the staff to interpret similar themes in very different ways through the media and processes associated with their textile disciplines of weave, knit, print and dyeing.”

Shona Sinclair, Curator for Borders Textile Towerhouse, said, “This has been an interesting and inspiring project for the museum. It is fascinating to see how designers can use archive materials to create new and innovative designs and it demonstrates the continued relevance of our historic archives.”